Wikiversity:Welcome, newcomers

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Welcome to Wikiversity!

Wikiversity is for learning. It is a place where you'll find free, multilingual learning materials and learning projects. Everyone can participate. There is no cost, no advertising, and no credentials required. No degrees are awarded — just learning.

Wikiversity hosts learning communities. This is a place where people who want to learn can come and interact.

Everyone can create and revise teaching materials. Anyone can participate in the learning activities. Everyone can take a course. Everyone can teach a course. There are no entrance requirements and no fees. All content in Wikiversity is written collaboratively, using wiki software, and everyone is welcome to take part through using and discussing content, adding content, and even contributing to our policies.

Feel free to dive in, and create or amend any page you think warrants improvement! Be bold! You don't even need to create an account to contribute. However, doing so would help identify you to others as a regular editor and also at the same time provide you with a personal set of user pages.

If you have educational content you feel could be useful, or want to develop your own, you might find it useful to read our page on adding content before doing so. It may also be helpful to explore Wikiversity a bit, and just try to come away with a sense of how things have been done thus far in the endeavor. If you would like someone else to start the page for you, you can request a page creation. Perhaps you might also like to check out Wikiversity:Introduction for the basics, take a longer guided tour to find your way around the project, or to work through an activity to make Wikiversity activities.

Read on below to explore some questions and answers about Wikiversity.

What's this all about?

Wikiversity is a learning community. Learning is a major part of life and never ceases. Wikiversity is a Wikimedia Foundation project which aims to further the discovery and distribution of knowledge in a very natural way, by helping each other to learn.

You can use Wikiversity to find information, ask questions, or learn more about a subject. You can explore knowledge at Wikiversity through advanced study and research. You can also use Wikiversity to share your knowledge about a subject with others by building learning materials around your knowledge.

For a longer description, see What is Wikiversity?

How is Wikiversity organized?

At the time of writing, there are eight major "Portals" in Wikiversity embracing disciplines such as Engineering and Technology · Interdisciplinary Studies · Humanities · Life Sciences · Physical Sciences · Practical Arts and Sciences · Professional Schools · Social Sciences. Over time, more will appear. Or you could start one.

Note: nomenclature at Wikiversity hasn't settled down. Some pages call these "Faculties", while others prefer "Portal" since the Wikiversity doesn't have faculty members. Over time terminology will sort itself out. In the meantime both terms refer to the same thing.

For example, The Faculty of the Humanities has organized itself into schools:

Art and Design · Classics · Mythology · Law · Language and Literature · Music · Philosophy · Theology
Each "School" has Departments, for instance within the School of Music is the Department of Music in Film.
Within that is Mad Max's Course in Film Scoring for Motion Pictures, which is an online learning project for non-musicians to learn how to write film music.

Each faculty or portal is free to organize itself its own way, suiting its own needs.

Credentials, diplomas & provenance

Will I earn a diploma at Wikiversity?

No. That's one thing we don't do. At the moment you cannot earn credentials here. But you can learn here and then earn your credentials elsewhere. For now this is about the learning itself, by itself.

Are there exams at Wikiversity?

Some course leaders may post some questionnaires so you can assess your learning progress. Course leaders may also give personal feedback on their observations of your progress. Wikiversity strives to help each person define and reach his or her personal learning goals, and so there shouldn't be any pressure to perform or fear of failure; instead, we promote learning through experience, which includes making mistakes.

Who gets to decide what gets posted here?

You do. Go ahead and post. A more complete answer is, "We all do." All Wikiversity pages may be created and revised by anyone. In this sense a Wikiversity page is being created by a community, by those who choose to be active in the process. The result is pages which reflect the current consensus. Note that older versions can always be revived. Any vandalism can be undone by any user.
If you're an expert (or, better, "have proven expertise"), we encourage you to be prepared to work with others in collaboration — just as they are encouraged to work with you. This encouragement of equal participation is a positive factor in building a healthy community of learning, for the sake of learning.
Appeal to non-present or non-proven authority is not the normal expectation here. Much less is learning by authoritatively stating a fact with no supporting reasoning. We encourage a reasoned dialogue showing a neophyte the reasons, assumptions, etc. that create a commonly accepted fact.
Wikiversity has no set-in-stone identification of authorship, or even a concept of single authorship. Each page version is preserved. You can easily step back and compare one version with any other, see who performed the edits and communicate with those editors. And indeed, enter into conversation with any of the editors about their choices. This is peer review of content.

How is "inappropriate" material kept off the site?

Hate speech is unacceptable. Propaganda used as propaganda is unacceptable. (Copyrighted material is immediately removed, on discovery.)
It's the community of active participants who decides what's irresponsible and inappropriate for Wikiversity. That community includes you, if you choose. Content is challenged all the time. Community consensus may cause sections or whole pages to be removed.
If you feel strongly certain material should not be published, then start by posting your concerns on the page's Discussion area, and/or by contacting the various editors of the page (available from the page's History tab), and/or by posting your concerns on the Colloquium.
Wikiversity is a Wiki driven by consensus building among its participants.

How reliable is the material on Wikiversity?

There's no simple black-and-white answer to this question. Realistically you should use your best judgement. Factual errors generally get squeezed out fairly quickly. Matters of point of view and opinion take longer to generate consensus.
In matters of authenticity and reliability we encourage you to contact editors of pages of interest and query them. Go the History tab of any page of interest and discover who has edited that page.

What about cheating and cheaters?

Wikiversity is not interested in catching cheaters nor participating in entrapping them for disciplinary purposes. At the same time, Wikiversity shall not become a repository for materials intended to allow illicit publication of that which can be construed as resources for cheaters. Cheating is explicitly discouraged throughout this website.

Learning materials

Wikiversity is in the process of developing learning materials ready for downloading for use for all age and education levels, in and out of formal learning environments. Discover what's available by clicking on a faculty name on the Main Page and proceed down from there.

Can I download materials here and use them in my own offsite classes? What are the terms of their use?

You are absolutely free to download and use our materials in your teaching. Our content is licenced under a free licence (GFDL) - basically, requiring that the content be distributed in a similar licence and with attribution for the content's creators - see the complete licence details and terms. You are also able - encouraged - to help revise our materials. Better yet, you could post your revisions back to Wikiversity. Also post your experiences using the materials to the page's Discussion area. Give back and make Wikiversity better.

How can I determine whether the material here is any good?

By questioning, and by striving to understand the material yourself. It's your judgement call. If you can make it better, go ahead and edit. Note that every page has a Discussion area where you can post your observations and questions. You can review the History of a page, see who wrote which version and enter into dialogue with these individuals. Together we can, and will, make the material here stronger and stronger.
  • What types of learning materials will be found here.
  • Fairly mature example links to explore, to give the new user a feeling for what to expect.
  • How to download and use this material.
  • Whether and how to fork to take a set of materials in a radically different direction.
  • How these materials are currently being protected from vandalism.

Learning Projects

Many Wikiversity pages are devoted to interactive learning activities taking place online. The Learning Projects page is a good place to recruit learners for your project and/or to discover an active learning opportunity for yourself.

Who can teach?

Everyone with the motivation to help others learn, no credentials required. Wikiversity is about people learning how to learn and teach — we value expertise and experience, but we also value learning through experience.
You will find all kinds of teachers here: retired professional academics, active ones, folks from the industry and the self-taught fellows with no formal qualifications at all. Ask course leaders for their backgrounds, or not.
If your students like the course, good, they will probably continue working with you. If not, they may wander away, or raise objections. You can only maintain yourself in the role of instructor through meritorious contributions, positive feedback from the community and especially from those who participate in your online courses. Everything at Wikiversity is subject to peer review.

If I teach, will I get paid, or can I charge my students?

No, no fees are collected or paid for participation in Wikiversity. Everything is voluntary. Wikiversity is free to all.

General

How can I become involved?

By visiting the Community Bulletin Board. There's a link in the sidebar under the Wikiversity logo. Here you'll learn what tasks need to be done, what groups can be joined. You're vigorously encouraged to join. It's free; as a member you identify your contributions and get a set of personal pages where you can engage in discussions.
Here's how to start a new page, some editing tips and the Edit Interface. And a whole page about adding content.
You don't need "sign" your submissions to content pages — that's recorded automatically and shown on the History of the page. But you are definitely encouraged to sign your contributions to the Discussion page and any Talk page. Do this with four tildes (~). Here's more about signatures.
Wikipedia's guidance on contributing generally apply to Wikiversity as well. If you don't want your writing to be edited or redistributed by others, do not submit it.
Be sure to visit the Colloquium for general discussions. For real-time chat with other Wikiversity users, check out our Chat page.
Go ahead and make what you see better.

Can I have my own User Page?

Absolutely. A clickable tab for it will appear at the top of every Wikiversity page. Use your personal page any way you like. Introduce yourself, add pictures. Best of all, add Wikiversity page links and other links you frequently visit. Your page will greatly help in your own navigation and help others connect with you. You'll also get a separate Talk page where others can post messages for you. Create your free membership here.

Is there an Index? How can I find "stuff" I might be interested in?

There are several ways. Try All Pages. Use the popup to limit the selection by type of page. Or use the Search field in the Sidebar on every Wikiversity page to enter your search criteria. Or start at the Wikiversity Main Page and drill down through the various faculties, departments and schools to material of interest. Or jump to the Examples page.

Who pays for Wikiversity?

People like you do, by donations. Here's how you can make a donation (entirely voluntary). Notice there's no advertising on Wikiversity. We're non-commercial, entirely run by volunteers, operating costs covered by donations from people like you and by grants from various institutions.

What if someone wrecks a perfectly good course?

If you see a page which appears (at least in your eyes) to have been degraded from an earlier version, then enter into the editing process.
It's good practice to enter into dialogue with the editor who made the changes you feel are unfortunate. Propose a compromise. Discuss your feelings in the Discussion area of the page. Don't be afraid to be bold. Integrate what you liked about the older version into the current version. Use the History tab at the top of the page to compare any two versions of a page and see what changed.
There's also the option of "forking" a course into two equivalent and equal versions covering the same subject but in different styles. Nothing at Wikiversity is "definitive".

How can change be monitored?

Change happens. On wikis, it happens all the time. Right now, pages are being created and improved, and edits are being published. Take a look at the recent changes log and see for yourself!
Since our launch on August 15th, 2006, we've created 26,141 content pages. For other statistics, see Special:Statistics. Right now, the project is being actively built by people like you; as you read this, it is very likely someone will be editing or previewing changes to one or more pages on this site.

Where and how are Wikiversity policies formulated?

As a project in the early stages of development, Wikiversity is undergoing a huge amount of discussion relating to policies, technical issues, and establishing an initial content infrastructure and general layout. The main forum for discussions is the Colloquium — take a look there and feel free to drop a reply to anything which interests you. You might want to, for example, take a look at or contribute to our various policies.

What are the long range goals of Wikiversity?

Wikiversity was started in the summer of 2006, so we're still articulating them. However, here are a few relevant pages — What Wikiversity Is, What Wikiversity Is Not, Scope and Wikiversity community. Add your thoughts to these pages' discussion pages, or edit the pages themselves. Best yet, add your comments and recommendations to Colloquium. And here's how a Wikibooks project gave birth to Wikiversity — History of Wikiversity.

What's 'Wiki' all about?

The word is Hawaiian for "fast", and in this context refers both to the software underpinning Wikiversity and to the editing and contribution conventions that have evolved around wiki software. Learn a lot more at this Wikipedia link. And some more here.

What languages are supported?

Currently 10. The list, with links, is shown at the bottom of the Main Page.

What are the admissions requirements?

Wikiversity is open to all who are interested in learning or contributing what they know. A willingness to work with others, however, is required (see Collaborative learning).

From the learning point of view, what is different from Wikipedia to Wikiversity?

Wikipedia has a narrow mission: the creation of encyclopedia articles. Wikiversity has a broader mandate to explore how to use wiki technology to promote learning.

See also

General information, guides & help

Overarching principles

The Wikiversity community

  • Colloquium - where the community gets together to discuss Wikiversity
  • Community Portal - a gateway to the community, to find out what's happening.
Wikiversity is a facility for learning by doing